How to Select a Home for Rent in Singapore
for a new home in a foreign city at the other end of the world is a very stressful affair. You may feel under enormous pressure, as you will like to settle in soon and save costs on hotels or serviced apartments. It is, however, important to take your time, as once you have signed a lease you are bound for some time and it is difficult to break the lease.
It is of enormous advantage if you do some research by yourself. When looking for an apartment or a house to rent, it is important to look at maps, commuting time, residential areas around schools.
The selection criteria of your new home are ruled by three major components:
* Safety and security in your neighborhood
* Transport needs and distances to schools, offices, shops and the airport
* Your bedroom needs
Safety and Security
Security has top priority and Singapore's prime residential areas should be targeted to increase security and safety rather than living in a remote place by yourself. What happens in your neighborhood will have major effects on your general well-being and your subjective feelings of safety. In Singapore security is very high, but this is what you have to watch:
* A construction site comes with noise, piling, air pollution, mosquitoes and foreign workers who live on-site, lorries damaging the roads leading to your home, traffic obstructions etc. Construction work in Singapore is not limited to daytime or working days only but may continue 24 hours including weekends and holidays.
* Any free plot of land may be used for future development.
* Old or vacant buildings are prone to be pulled down.
* Connection roads to major streets of the city indicate high traffic, pollution and noise.
* Public buildings like schools, stadiums, churches, temples or a hawker center attract a lot of people and traffic.
* Mosques come with five daily prayers (sunrise!) via loudspeakers.
* Guards and security alarm systems at the neighbors may hint security problems or high profile neighbors.
* Barking dogs at the neighbors may be disturbing.
* Primary or secondary jungle may harbor creatures not welcomed. (Snakes, monkeys.)
* High trees or high-rise buildings next to your home make it dark and humid inside
* Floods and landslides may occur at homes at the foot of steep slopes or need the river.
* Easily flooded roads are a traffic obstruction.
Distances to schools, office, airports and shops for your daily needs will rule your life. Heavy traffic and traffic obstructing floods are not uncommon in Singapore and even small distances can turn out to be a long drive. Keep times for commuting as short as possible.
* Drive the distances to/from offices and schools during rush hours and note the time it takes before you sign the lease agreement. Parental involvement in International Schools is frequent with many school visits each week. Children in international Schools attend many activities in the afternoon and need to be picked up regularly if there is no after class transport.
* If you use school transport you need to call the transport office of the schools to find out pickup and drop off times of your children from the area you want to live. Find out about activity busses and their frequency after school hours.
* In Singapore, if it is a safe and reliable option to use public transport such as busses and the MRT. Public transport in Singapore is air-conditioned and bus stops are generally sheltered from rain or sunshine. If you want to use taxis for your commuting, find out about their availability next to your home, office or school, waiting time and additional costs if pre-ordered by phone. During bad weather, weekends and late nights taxis may not be available and long waiting lines should be planned for.
You need to know the number of bedrooms you require as housing agents are going by this figure and not by size such as amount of square meter/square feet. We suggest you take less furniture and store or sell the rest. We bet you will be tempted to buy some antiques or reproductions in Singapore!
If you have frequent houseguests such as friends and relatives from overseas staying with you, a guest room should be included, preferably with ensuite bathroom.
If you plan to have an extra study to place your PC in a constantly air-conditioned room add another bedroom. Some homes have open areas allocated as studies but this means you have to keep the air conditioning running 24 hours in your living room.
If you plan to employ a live-in maid you have to look at the servant's facilities. Maid rooms are frequent in houses and apartments with more than three bedrooms, whereas modern 2 bedroom apartments sometimes do not have a maid's room any more as many younger expatriates rather hire a cleaning service.
Living and dining rooms are not mentioned specifically when home searching. They are usually connected to each other. In older apartments they have a pretty good size whereas the more modern houses and apartments tend to have them smaller as land in Singapore is very expensive and houses are built on smaller plots. Semi-detached houses and town houses often have multi floor layouts on small plots and you may find it difficult to place a large dining table or cabinet.
If your company wants you to entertain at home, you should look at detached houses or cluster houses (houses in a compound sharing garden and pool) or at large renovated apartments in older condominiums.
By Jacqueline Reischel
Jacqueline Reischel offers a guide to moving to and living in Singapore at enterSingapore.info. It features Singapore houses for sale, bank information, career guides and Singapore visa and immigration information.
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